Mary is our Director of External Relations, leading Action Against Hunger's development and communications efforts.
Action Against Hunger Condemns Violence Against Humanitarian Workers, Mourns Loss of Colleague
Action Against Hunger (ACF International) strongly condemns the recent violence against humanitarian aid workers in South Sudan as we mourn the loss of our great friend and longtime colleague Gabriel Yien Gach, who was killed on Monday, August 4, 2014, in Maban County in South Sudan.
We are calling upon on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law, protect humanitarian aid workers and grant unimpeded access to all civilians in need of assistance. Ultimately, we call for a political settlement to end the violence.
Our colleague Gabriel was a respected humanitarian whose true commitment to the people of South Sudan was expressed through his career providing aid and resources towards building a more promising future. His life and passion for this work was cut brutally short in a region and at a time when the children and families he served needed him most as a catastrophic food and nutrition crisis envelops the country.
More than 125,000 refugees from Sudan fleeing violence between warring parties are being sheltered in Maban County. An estimated 1.5 million people have been uprooted in South Sudan fighting that started with a political impasse in mid-December 2013.
Compounding this tragedy are reports that Gabriel was assassinated by a militia group calling itself the Mabanese Defense Force and targeting Nuer civilians as part of that conflict. Since his death, five other aid workers have been killed in the region, and one additional worker is missing. This threat to aid workers in the region will likely intensify the food crisis for families there and throughout the country.
Gabriel worked for Action Against Hunger from 2007 - 2013, in a number of logistics management roles that enabled our teams to deliver food, water and hygiene to malnourished children and reduce health risks to families in South Sudan. His cheerful and efficient work in preparing and managing aid delivery made him a valuable member of the team, first in Malakal, of the Upper Nile State of the region that is now South Sudan, and then in the capital of Juba, where his most recent position was Field Logistics Supervisor. He left our organization in May 2013 to pursue further studies in Uganda and later joined Norwegian People’s Aid, the humanitarian organization for which he was working at the time his death.
Action Against Hunger sends our heartfelt condolences to Gabriel’s family and other friends who, like us, will long miss his compassion and dedication to the people of South Sudan.